Anyone else find Auto windscreen wipers almost useless?

psychopomp1

Registered User
Hi,
On my A4 Avant I notice that when i have my front wipers on auto setting (using highest sensitivity on stalk), they wipe very little during intermittent light rain/drizzle, ie don't appear to sense rain properly unless its chucking it down. Am I the only one who finds the auto setting almost useless? Windscreen is kept clean at all times and has never been replaced.

Also does the 'auto' wipers setting also apply to rear wipers on the Avant? Reason for asking is that i've seen the rear wipers come on at totally random intervals.

Cheers
 

MOA4B9

Registered User
I find that they never come on by themselves when it starts raining, I need to initiate the first wipe and then they work fine. However I haven't had an opportunity to see if their speed automatically increases if it rains more heavily.
 

Pork

Registered User
I sometimes find if I flick the sensitivity switch up one (to max) then back it seems to “reset” to where I like it but I do agree it lacks consistency.
I think the rear wiper will wipe when you select reverse if you’re front wiper have cycled on automatically (ie not if you reverse off the drive and the fronts haven’t wiped yet)
 

cuke2u

Registered User
All the cars I have driven with auto wipers they have been less than perfect, but then they cannot mimic what the human eye detects anyway. As far as I understand constantly changing the settings can result in the wiper sensor unable to calibrate itself to the conditions.
As for the rear wiper, I haven't got one on the saloon as they are not needed, but on cars with them fitted, and auto front wipers, they either come on when reverse is selected or timed to perform a wipe at timed intervals when turned on..
 

Pork

Registered User
I would have to disagree with you about saloons not needing a rear wiper, I had a 3 series saloon for a few weeks while mine was in for repair and really wasn’t keen on the rear visibility when it rained.
 

Hear-Vier

B5 then a B8.5
Same with my old B8.5. If there was just very light rain I couldn't find a setting that would be the right balance. Had to keep cycling up to the next setting and then back to the minimum repeatedly. I've since used VCDS to turn auto off in favour of fixed intervals. Can now just choose the best of four intermittent wiper speeds, far less annoying.
 

Paul Golding

Registered User
I think it's basically caused by us having the wrong rain un the UK. When I go to the hand car wash, they wipe just fine (even though I then have to turn them off), but in typical drizzle, they need a bit of encouragement to get going.
 

psychopomp1

Registered User
Thanks, so its not just me and my eyes :)

Anyway I've turned the 'auto' setting off in the MMI, the 'auto' stalk position is now used for fixed interval wiping with the sensitvitiy switch used to control the frequency of wiping (no need for VCDS).

Re: rear wipers, yeah i agree they're not needed on A4 saloon models but oh man on the Avant the rear glass becomes a mess during heavy rain.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Good you've found a work around, seems other manufacturers selom provide this ability. But seeing as rear visibilty for estates and hatchbacks has always been an issue in rain necessitating a rear wiper you'd thought a solution would have been found. But maybe the one below is a little extreme:
Porsche_935_Bike_01pop.jpg
 

SMI77

Australia
But maybe the one below is a little extreme: View attachment 168536
I actually remember this photo when it first came out. Not sure of the mechanicals but body based on the Porsche 935 "Moby D i c k". Classic!!
Speaking of classic Porsches, here's more: https://www.speedcafe.com/2018/10/26/gallery-webber-delivers-919-evo-to-porsche-museum/

Rarely use wipers in the rain. Usually no problem with the rain beading off the screen. Toughest time is during sunshowers, the sun is shining brightly but it is still p1$$1ing down. The last time I looked in the rearview mirror was on a wet greasy road. I watched a 8 tonne pantech speeding out-of-control
towards the tailgate. Had my seat belt buckled and believed in the safety structure of the Subie. It was written-off. I have the cargo blind up and couldn't give a rats about rearward vision. Have 2 outside mirrors and the camera if I need to reverse.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Good to see Mark in a car, followed his career from when he first started in F1, unfortunately more known for his airbourne accidents at Le Mans 1999 and again in Spain 2010 and 'Multi21 Seb' remark when his team mate failed to follow team orders.

As far as the auto wipers are concerned, I have driven many a car where they fail to perform to any satisfactory degree in showery weather..
 
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cosmicblue

Registered User
No issues:

1. Some people forget that there is (often) an adjustable interval delay switch on the wiper stalk.

2. A stone chip, even a minute one where the sensor is at the top of the screen seems to confuse the sensitivity.
 

pjeffe9172

Registered User
Rarely use wipers in the rain. Usually no problem with the rain beading off the screen.

I haven't had an issue with the wipers on either the A4 B9 TDI or the RS4 and I live in the UK. I have the sensitivity setting just right of the middle which seems to suit 95% types of shower. If an extra wipe is required I push the button on the stalk. The fine misty rain "that fine rain' as the legendary Peter Kay says is the worst and is normally the type that requires the extra wipe every now and then (normally at slower speeds).
 

Paul Golding

Registered User
Having been enjoying this rainy morning, I think I've cracked the wiper "issue". Like many, I tend to have to give a manual wipe to get them started, usually when starting the car and it's either raining, or has been.

Today, I thought I'd try and figure out the logic. Starting the car with it raining quite hard and driving off without touching the wipers on purpose, they started on their own very quickly. A bit later, I went out and it was raining very lightly and there was rain on the screen. I again pulled away, but this time had to wait quite a long time before the first wipe.

As it started raining quite hard again, I stopped and turned the ignition off, allowing rain to accumulate on the screen. Started, waited, and eventually pulled away and like the first time, the wipers came to life very quickly. I've also noticed that when it starts raining whilst driving, they seem to work quite happily.

So, I think the sensor is seeing the change on the screen from when the ignition is turned on as opposed to seeing what's there to start with, which explains why when starting the car with a screen full of rain it does nothing, unless it continues raining.

Just my thoughts really.
 

ub7rm

Registered User
The reason they don't come on straight away from start is in case there is ice on the screen / risk of ripping the blades. Hence why you either have to give it a 'manual' start or some logic kicks in above a certain speed or delay. It might consider the intensity of rain as well. I would agree in general that with drizzle they don't behave quite as well as I'd like.

I had a mk5 Golf GTI years ago and the auto wipers on that were perfect. So the knowledge does exist in the VAG family. My mk7 GTD isn't as good either.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Yes this is the way they have been designed and, unlike other manufacturers, at least Audi have taken this into consideration.
 

Paul Golding

Registered User
Not convinced about that. The wipers don't know if there is any, or how much, ice on the screen. As I said above, the sensor seems to be able to detect how much rain is appearing on the screen (as opposed to how much is there when turning the ignition on) and this dictates how soon they wipe and I could only get them to automatically wipe after pulling away (with water on the screen). Doing this, with heavy rain, the screen wiped very quickly, but with light rain it took much longer.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
No the wipers don't know how much ice is on the screen, that's not the point, however they assume that drivers have correctly cleared the screen of any ice before moving off or, if they haven't, had enough nouse to turn them off before driving away.
Either way is it really that much of a task to use the wipers manually like flicking the switch, or have we become so complacent that the assumption is technology will sort it out?
 

gforrow

Registered User
Don't have an issue with them. In fact I find even on the lowest sensitivity setting they still sweep too often, especially in light rain.

I have the windscreen coated, such that above 30mph the rain just streaks off the screen and that works well. At 70mph, if you can ever achieve that on the motorway, the wipers are basically redundant.

Had them on the A4, my old A6, an A1 and A3, and always seem predictable. Agree with the initial sweep though. Sometimes reversing off the drive causes water to come off the roof(coated car), which if it crosses the sensor wakes them up anyway, otherwise it's a simple flick to wake them.

All good in my opinion, and better than the old fashioned intermittent, which was never the right speed :)
 

Paul Golding

Registered User
No the wipers don't know how much ice is on the screen, that's not the point, however they assume that drivers have correctly cleared the screen of any ice before moving off or, if they haven't, had enough nouse to turn them off before driving away.
Either way is it really that much of a task to use the wipers manually like flicking the switch, or have we become so complacent that the assumption is technology will sort it out?
Maybe we're talking at crossed purposes. I'm just saying they work fine and as soon as the sensor can "see" a change on the glass, they wipe. It has nothing to do with being intentionally delayed in case some ice has stuck them to the glass.

Today in the car wash, I was stationary for so long that I got fed up with the car starting and turning itself off, so I turned the ignition off. When I finally got my turn, I started the car as the carwash man sprayed the glass and the wipers wiped immediately (to his annoyance): the sensor picked up the change on the glass and did not delay in case there was ice there.

I also recall earlier in the year, sitting outside the house with a screen covered in ice waiting for the demist to do its thing. As the ice started to melt/move near the top of the screen, the wipers wiped: the senor picked up the change on the glass.
 

cuke2u

Registered User
Ah, gotcha, sounds like it's perhaps even more clever than I thought :)
 

Paul Golding

Registered User
I think it's more like I got lucky with all the rain we had yesterday, and was sad enough to play stop start while I was out in an attempt to figure out the logic :tearsofjoy:

Aside from messing about with the wipers though, I'm paying too much attention to the way the gearbox is changing gears. I've not seen much lately about the gearbox flash thingy, so I'm guessing your still pleased with it?
 
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